Fast, furious and long lines were the themes of Day #2 of South By. The sessions we attended were a bit all over the board – from journalism to location-based to content for social change – but hey, what else would we expect? Here are our most interesting thoughts and takeaways from today’s sessions:
- As a former journalist, my first session of the day was particularly interesting, “Sources in the Social Media Age.” New Media journalists from Bloomberg, Salesforce and All Things D discussed the challenges that come from using social and online platforms to quote sources. For PR people, Edmond Lee from Bloomberg reminded us not to release the entire story and then pitch your contacts, “that doesn’t give us anything interesting to work with, and I won’t cover it.”
- In “Loyalty in the Pocket” representatives from Starbucks, Bottle Rocket Apps and WWE discussed how mobile devices can be used to create a more loyal community. 65 percent of all online shopping and searches Start on mobile devices, but 26% of all mobile apps are only opened once before they’re deleted. In the words of Tina Prause of WWE, “it won’t work without focus, clarity and delight.”
- In my favorite “inspiring” moment of the festival to date, I heard the founders of feelrich.com (a health industry/minority-focused marketing firm) talk about making an unpopular topic (your health) relevant to an audience that doesn’t put an emphasis on personal health. The end product will be a documentary (similar to Forks Over Knives, coming out later this year) that uses motivation and relevant language rather than fear and clinical terms to make change happen. In their words, “Health is the new wealth.” Check out their YouTube channel, and then think about how you can be more relevant for your community.
- The first session on Saturday was particularly relevant to me because of the work I do in addition to GroundFloor, covering sports and entrepreneurs for two different media companies. “Sources in the Social Media Age” included editors from All Things Digital and Bloomberg News discussing the impact that sourcing stories via social media platform (overwhelmingly Twitter) has changed the game for many journalists. Greg Galant, the CEO of Muck Rack and the Founder of the Shorty Awards, had a great quote when he said, “social media is kind of like Craigslist for sources. It can be a great place to start a transaction, but you aren’t going to finish it there.”
- When I went through the conference schedule to try and plan my days here in Austin there was one specific panel that I knew I wouldn’t miss. My father was a Pepsi employee growing up and my affinity for the company and their marketing practices has only grown over the years as their digital practices have continued to raise the bar for cutting through the clutter to get your message heard. Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital at Pepsi, and Jen Saenz, Senior Director of Brand Marketing lead a discussion about using your fans as your true marketers and the values of crowdsourcing. The most poignent moment of the session for me was Singh’s comments about how the best agencies help us participate in culture as authentically as possible and that agencies that will succeed in the future will be a bridge to culture for brands.
- Finally, after taking in an informative panel on the past, present and future of geolocation, I took a step back from the marketing and branding speak that can overwhelm a conference like SXSWi and decided to attend a session entitled “Life on the Line: Tweeting the Drug War” about the rise of citizen journalists in the border areas of Mexico seriously effected by the extreme rise of cartel violence. We talk so much about the use of social media for brands and marketers that we forget that the essence of these platforms is all about forming human connections. Social media in these areas of the world is literally saving lives and helping to raise awareness of injustice that would otherwise go unheard.
~ Jon Woods and Jim Licko